The Vinegar Cafe

Some of the house-made fruit vinegars at Marusan

Vinegar is not my favorite thing. Not even close. So I was kind of lukewarm on the idea of going to a café where the house specialty was drinks based on fruit vinegar.

How could I have been so wrong?

The drinks were so delicious, I’ve been back to Marusan several times since, just to try the different concoctions. Sweet and sour, the intense flavors of the house-made fruit vinegars are rounded out with just the right amount of sparkling water and ice. They were especially lifesaving before summer turned to fall.

And the flavor combos! Apple vinegar with fresh ginger. Yuzu citrus vinegar and mint. Rose hip, apple and peach vinegar. The biggest surprise was the green shiso and black vinegar drink. I’d only encountered green shiso as edible garnish on my sashimi plate (it’s the heart-shaped leaf with the serrated edge) so I was surprised at how sweet and tangy it was when turned into vinegar. Nearly all the combos were available in both non-alcoholic and cocktail forms, and there were also some interesting beer plus fruit vinegar drinks.

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